Child Discipline = Raising Their Sights

Child discipline wasn’t something I appreciated when I was a child

But I knew it had to be done.

Once, my Dad had told me I was going to get a spanking and then seemed to forget about it.

My young soul was tormented. When was I going to get it?

Days passed and I was in agony.

Finally I went to my Dad and asked him for the spanking he’d promised.

He was befuddled and told me that I didn’t need it anymore.

My older brother told me I was stupid.

Maybe I was, but I couldn’t stand knowing that I was to receive discipline but not knowing when.

Now that I’m a Dad 5 times over, child discipline looks very different

And the difference is more than being on the other side of the spanking.

The discipline I apply for the sake of my children has a mindset behind it, a philosophy of sorts.

Child discipline is not about punishment.

It’s not about whether my kids were “bad” or “good.”

It’s especially not about my anger being expressed.

Child discipline is about raising my child’s sights.

I want the discipline I apply to my children to help them examine themselves.

To help them see that they are falling below what they are capable of and what God desires for them.

I want to raise their sights to something better, something greater, something more fulfilling for them and of greater value to the world.

Raising our children’s sights is part of every parent’s job.

We’ve got to help our children see that they are more than their sin.

And that they are no longer enslaved to their failures because of the gift of Jesus.

Loving discipline raises our children’s sights in powerful ways

  • It points out the gravity and danger of sin.
  • It shows that the child is not the center of the universe.
  • It demonstrates that we, the ones who love them the most, are willing to take drastic steps to help them move away from disobedience.
  • It reveals that behind the discipline is the loving heart of their heavenly father.

He cares about them so much that He gave them parents to guide them, to teach them, to enforce the boundaries when needed.

He has given them parents to help them raise their sights from the childish, inconsequential things to eternal things.

And He has given their parents the authority to wisely discipline them for the sake of those things.

Discipline is often the missing piece of parenting

It’s sad to me every time I see it… and it seems I’m seeing it more and more.

In stores, restaurants, on sports fields, and even in church services.

A parent too merciful, too timid, too compassionate for their child’s good.

They won’t correct out of fear of being too mean.

They’ve bought the lie that firmness with their child is inappropriate.

They don’t understand that the discipline they fear to employ is the very thing their rebellious, self-absorbed child needs.

The willing disregard of child discipline is tragic, for the parents and for the child, because every child — every person for that matter — needs boundaries.

Boundaries tell us we’re safe. Boundaries tell us we’re loved. God gives boundaries. So do good parents.

But discipline with good boundaries isn’t enough. The boundaries have to be enforced.

You’ll never hear me advocating abuse, though my stance on spanking has been called that in the past.

What I advocate is (in this order):

  • Parents who are radically in love with Jesus…
  • building healthy, open relationships with their children…
  • and teaching them to love Him and His ways…
  • employing a loving hand of discipline when needed…
  • and following up with loving kindness and further instruction as appropriate.

There’s no abuse in that. Anywhere.

It’s a demonstration of the parent’s belief that God gives wise counsel when He tells us how to discipline our children.

They trust Him to know what He’s talking about, so they apply His instruction.

They do it in love.

They do it with compassion.

They do it consistently.

But most of all, they do it.

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. — Proverbs 13:24

Why would God say that you hate your son (or daughter) if you refuse to discipline him when he needs it?

Because you are NOT raising his sights.

You’re allowing him to learn and therefore believe that:

  • He isn’t capable of better
  • His foolish behavior and thinking is OK
  • You don’t care enough about him to help him curb his foolishness

That’s pretty strong language. And it’s God’s language.

Disciplining your children is not abusive. It’s not mean. It’s raising their sights.